Citizens need stronger self-defense rights against activist assault (for civilizational defense).

We’re getting strong reminders, lately, that a free society with mutual respect for rights is vulnerable to those who have no such respect and don’t much like freedom.  Among the most-stark examples I’ve seen is this incident, in which pro-Hamas Columbia activists encircle and bodily remove a student who objected to their destroying a campus…

A glowing child emerges in the midst of a crowd of crazed monsters
Think before (and after) you “mic check.”

The recent spate of campus demonstrations supporting the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas returned attention to something I’m not aware of having seen since the Occupy Wall Street days:  the activist “mic check.” Among Leftist organizers, this practice is offered as a humanistic means of amplifying a speaker’s voice without equipment.  The person who has the…

An activist speaks through puppets
Freedom has no noncompete with propaganda.

Many people would likely see it as an obscure topic reported in a minor venue, but Christian Winthrop’s recent article in The Newport Buzz about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) move against noncompete agreements hits three distinct notes that fire me up. The first is that it is unambiguous propaganda: In a landmark decision aimed…

Men shake hands in a dark alley
The assumption seems to be we’re all either children or slaves.

Civility and compassion are important traits we should, as a society, strive to inculcate in our children and uphold ourselves.  However, big-state nannyism has reached the point that well-meaning people no longer appreciate the distinction between how we should act as responsible people and what we should be forced or forbidden to do by an…

A threatening nanny glowers with a switch
Interest rates have become like rent control.

And they’re both artificial thresholds created by interventionist policies.  realEstateTrent makes a great point, here:   Progressive policies, which shift decision-making to the blunt tool of government, create these unhealthy thresholds everywhere.  People stay on the public dole because they’d have to earn so much money for a job to be worthwhile that no job…

A mechanic stares down a destroyed machine
Land use may be the dog that’s not barking in the housing debate.

Catching up on email, I came across this October article from the American Stewards of Liberty about a federal push for conservation areas: The Service is planning to acquire 250,000 acres of private land in the new federally designated area by offering “voluntary” conservation easements in perpetuity to landowners. Those who do not want to…

A man dreams of depopulation.
Rewriting history, especially to erase the stages of progress, is a dangerous practice.

The featured image of this post compares the original cover of Mountain Music by the band Alabama with the censored version now used for music streaming services.  I should specify that I’m not alleging the band and the companies that manage its music were forced to make the change by a government agency, but censorship it…

Comparison of the two covers of Mountain Music by Alabama
How should we compare Scott Avedisian’s severance package and Caitlin Clark’s basketball salary?

The short answer is that we shouldn’t, but Bill Bartholomew’s attempt is worth a double-take and some thought about what he’s missing: at nearly 68k, Scott Avedisian’s termination payment is almost as much as the contract that the most exciting player in college basketball, Caitlin Clark, signed after being selected first overall in the WNBA draft…

A man in a suit shoots a basketball at a city bus
Increased productivity is a communal good.

Somehow, despite ample reason for civic disappointment, I find I’m becoming less cynical as I get older, not more.  Even now, when I come across reasoning like that expressed by young progressive Democrat Representative David Morales, I can’t help but feel hope that we can salvage reason from the flames of ideology: Here’s the reality:…

Artwork of a worker transforming into a boss
Days of Reckoning for the Salt of RI’s Earth

The point can’t be stressed enough that Rhode Islanders should understand the Washington Bridge debacle as a representative lesson on our state government.  For that reason, not the least, Mark Patinkin’s conversations with local affected business owners is an article to print and review periodically in the future.  Restauranteurs and venue owners bought and built…

A prison warden hides his keys behind his back during a fire
The Maher life can’t be representative of human needs.

Arguably, Eric Abbenante— overstates the degree of “debate” in this clip featuring Dr. Phil and Bill Maher, but the difference in point of view he highlights is the crucial one.  Here’s Abbenante: Bill Maher and Dr Phil debate the importance of family and religion: “You think family and faith are a big fix to the…

A yacht sails toward an almost entirely submerged city.
Freeing teachers means freeing them from an inapt industrial employment model.

Brandon Busteed’s argument in Forbes well taken: U.S. teachers are dead last among all occupational groups and professions in feeling their opinions count at work, that their supervisor creates an open and trusting environment and that they are treated with respect each day. Teachers are also the highest of all professions in experiencing burn-out and…

A teacher at the blackboard in a cage
Student loans are another crisis for the benefit of government.

Whatever one’s political leanings, the incentives of government must be understood as simply reality.  Government agencies don’t have to create a product or service that people will voluntarily purchase.  Rather, they must find activities for which they can justify forcing people who are not the direct beneficiaries to pay.  This model is justified, in some…

A farmer in a suit admires his corn with graduation caps
The details are the important part in the “housing crisis.”

By its nature, advocacy journalism glosses over the details that many would consider crucial.  Headlines from a pair of such articles by Katie Mulvaney in the Providence Journal illustrate the point: Six months pregnant with nowhere to go – an unhoused woman’s plight on RI’s streets After months of sleeping on the street, pregnant woman finally…

A homeless mother pushes a baby carriage in Providence, RI
Patricia Morgan should debate Ray McKay.

I’m a little delayed in reacting to this, but it isn’t encouraging news:

State Rep. Patricia Morgan, who is one of two Republicans running in Rhode Island’s U.S. Senate race this year, has declined to debate her opponent in the primary, 12 News has learned. …

“We need our party united for when Ray drops out or loses in the primary come September. A debate between Patricia and Ray would, mostly likely, not center on policy differences, but would instead center on personal traits and accomplishments,” [Morgan Director of Communications Anthony] D’Ellena explained.

That’s a thin “explanation.”  RI Republicans aren’t really in a position to reinforce the notion that front-runners don’t have to debate.  More importantly, they can’t afford not to increase interest in their campaigns or give their base a feeling of real activity.

Morgan’s making a big mistake, here.

We should consolidate the ugliness of renewable energy.

Two things occurred to me when I saw this aerial video of a wind turbine blade graveyard in Texas:

wideawake_media: These wind turbine blades have come to die at a wind turbine graveyard in Texas, USA.

They've outlived their 20-year lifespan and can't be recycled.

How very "green" and "renewable".


First, this sort of thing already exists for 20-year-old turbines in an industry that is supposedly just getting started as a major industry.  What sort of acreage will we be talking as we approach the “net zero” fantasy?

Second, we should store this junk under the ugly solar farms for which we’re leveling forests.  At least then the ugliness will be consolidated.

Glenn Reynolds identifies our two possible paths.

I’m tempted to modify this message, just a bit, by suggesting that this is always the choice:

Glenn Reynolds: Western Civilization faces a choice

A lighter-note comment on the uses of AI.

We’re in heavy times, these days, what with our system of government collapsing around us, so sometimes we need a change of soundtrack or cinematic distraction.  Finding new entertainment, however, has become more-difficult, too.  Very little music feels fresh, and movies are terrible.

On those rare occasions that I’ve thought to watch a new movie, I’m almost always disappointed to the extent of vowing not to make the attempt again.  Lately, it’s seemed like the once-great hope for streaming television shows was passing, as the early entries used up all the available innovations.

The weird mix of ideological preaching and the shift of standards such that things once unmentionable are exaggerated and things once exaggerated are unmentionable keeps movies from feeling new and compelling.

So, I’ve turned to artificial intelligence to help me dig into the past for things I might not yet have discovered, and it’s proving fruitful.  Start with a prompt with a “top 10” feel — such as “a list of the quintessential movies/albums from each decade” — and then tweak it to your tastes and mood.  Other adjectives can generate interesting responses, too, like “underappreciated” or “a movie/album for each decade that almost made it, but never quite broke through.”

Basically, imagine a conversation you might have had with your friends late on a Friday night while hanging around before social media (if you can remember back then) and ask your favorite AI.  One advantage is that the tastes of your friend group probably overlapped too much for genuine discoveries.  Another advantage is that streaming services make it possible to try out the recommendations for no or little additional cost beyond your existing services.

This was a great moment in Jerry Seinfeld’s Duke commencement speech.

I do think he should have followed the line about his family correcting his joke with “thanks grandma,” but who am I to kvetch?

AThinksAloud: Notice the two moments when the crowd surprised Jerry by exploding in applause: 1. “I’m a Jew from New York.” 2. “We’re embarrassed about things we should be proud of, and proud of things we should be embarrassed about.” All college kids are NOT Maoists. Don’t lose hope.

Forced integration is not the way to solve segregated outcomes.

The problem at the heart of well-meaning progressive policies is that they tend to ignore second-order effects.  They want outcome X, so they push policy U and ignore that side-effects V and W also happen, and consequences Y and Z might not prove desirable.  Housing mandates, for example, require on their face that we cede the principle that government can mandate housing design from the top down and forbid Americans from cooperating to design neighborhoods that are structurally to their liking.  Structurally, mind you; I’m not talking about the people who might buy the available houses.

That’s my concern with this idea:

gspeng: I was bussed in elementary & HS. It sucked. The best way to desegregate schools is to desegregate housing. To desegregate housing, we should build housing for all incomes in all neighborhoods. Thank you for coming to my TED talk

The solution isn’t mandates; it’s opportunity.  Freedom is a great leveling force, and it was working in America until progressives got impatient and gave a power that is obviously intended to prove insufficient until it is absolutely total.

Don’t forget the importance of audience for mockery.

This video of some proverbial “frat bros” mocking some antifa clowns brought to mind Saul Alinsky’s encouragement toward mockery of the opponent:

RichardHanania: Frat bros at University of Washington in Seattle challenge antifa to a push-up contest. Something is happening. There is more on the ground spontaneous resistance to these protests than all others in recent years put together. They’re inspiring a disgust reflex in normal people.

Preparation for conflicts is crucial, however.  The mockery worked because the antifa were outnumbered and in somebody else’s element.  Mockery is a group activity.  You must have a group.

A policy of “socially transitioning” children without their parents’ consent…

… leads me to the conclusion that whoever is controlling education policy wants young adults to be ignorant and emotionally unstable:

AmyGansettRep: Rhode Island public and federally funded schools facilitate social transition in school. This can be done without parental consent.

I’m glad people are starting to pay attention, but I’m not optimistic anything can be done.  I couldn’t believe when this policy filtered down from the Obama administration a decade ago.  And I still can’t believe there hasn’t been more outrage or, at least, a political cost to the promoters of these policies.

Chanting murder in another language is cheating…

… but it’s illustrative, at MIT:TaliaKhan_MIT: Translated and subtitled at 
@MIT — calls to murder Zionists and martyr oneself for the cause of destroying Israel.

I should note from the replies to the tweet that some people are contesting the translation, saying it’s “death to Zionism,” not “Zionists,” which supposedly makes all the difference.  On the other hand, some commenters say the chant references “Jews” in places where the translation says “Zionists.”

I’m not sure that the “Zionism” and “Zionists” distinction is as significant as defenders claim, given the fact the chant also refers to “martyrs.”  Nonetheless, the salient point is that so many young adults in America are chanting along not knowing whether it’s “Zionism,” “Zionists,” “Jews,” or whatever.

So much of young activism, these days, seems draped in this sort of ignorance.  The different language only puts an exclamation point on it.

I’m getting worried about how obvious it is our monetary system is largely fictional.

It’s bad enough that the Biden administration has convinced a generation of young Americans that tens of billions of dollars of their debt can just disappear with no effect because the debt didn’t really exist, anyway, but the Chair of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisor’s being unable to sound coherent when asked why the government borrows money when it can print more really brings the bonfire into the house:

amuse: BIDENOMICS: The reason the economy is imploding might be because this guy, Jared Bernstein, Chair of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors is setting our economic policy.

In fairness, it is a complex question that could be answered from multiple perspectives, but one gets the impression Bernstein doesn’t know because it’s not important to know.  The primary means by which the government (in the form of the Fed) prints money is buying securities with fictional dollars.

The economy isn’t going to be pretty when everybody stops trusting that the fiction is backed by good faith.

This has been RI’s preferred budgeting method for the past 15 years.

They limp along hoping for a catastrophe that gives Democrats in Washington, D.C., an excuse to borrow waves of cash for one-time windfalls:

RIPEC_: RIPEC’s new report finds that the governor relied on surplus funds and remaining federal pandemic relief dollars to pay for operating expenses, thereby sidestepping more difficult spending choices, and contributing to budget deficits in FY26 and beyond.

It’s understandable that politicians and bureaucrats would incline this way, but it’s inexplicable that anybody continues to believe giving increasing amounts of power to people with these incentives and this history of bad judgment is a good idea.

Keep an eye on the progress of violence.

Note something about the riotous behavior reaching American campuses, as Ted Gehring spotlights, here:

GehringTed: UCLA out of control tonight. I don’t know. Maybe USC and Texas were right to clamp down to some extent. UCLA has really let things get out of hand.

The last go-round of riots took place mostly in urban areas, this one has been on campuses. Granted that they’re often in urban areas, but their attack on colleges seems like the revolutionaries’ taking another step.  One or two more and they’ll be in the suburbs.

This isn’t to say that people in the cities should be expected to put up with this stuff while those in the suburbs should not.  (This stuff shouldn’t be happening at all.)  Still, I haven’t seen much consideration of the value to a society of having enclaves and a path to greater calm and order.  Instead, we get so bogged down in superficial arguments about class and race that we risk losing sight of underlying factors that make our society as dynamic as it is.

Questions get complex when you upend social (and biological) fundamentals.

This video of a police interaction with a young couple entered my awareness at a moment of reduced willpower, so I watched it.  Although it escalates from a towed car to an arrest and flirts with even more-dangerous outcome, the entire twenty minutes is primarily a display of young adults, feeling their economic oats, whose lessons on responding to the world were… incomplete.

One twist occurred to me, though, related to police protocol.  The arresting officer was male, so when he arrested the female, he placed her in his car and then called for a female officer to drive to the scene and search her.  What is the woke thinking on such things?  What if the second officer weren’t biologically female, but only identified as a woman?  Once this question lands on the table, things we’ve been able to take for granted become murky.  Why do we think a female should be more comfortable with another female touching her body?  If the woman objected to an officer who only identified as a woman touching her, would that be reasonable?  Could adding these variables escalate such tense interactions to the next level?

Progressives deny it explicitly, but there is wisdom in things people just feel to be right and proper.

These are the choices will-to-power policies will drive us toward.

“Had the girl not broken the law by purchasing and using pepper spray, she likely would have been raped — or worse.” Sure, the story Stephen Green is sharing comes from Denmark, and sure, one big advantage we have in the United States is the Second Amendment.  But policies change and, increasingly, our rights can go unprotected.

Overbearing government will come down hardest on those it can control, and we can’t afford to let it come to the point that we have to decide between protecting ourselves (increasingly often from people the government has let into the country or let out of prison with unreasonable leniency) and following the law.

I’ve wondered how Americans are getting by in this economy.

This may be part of the answer, and certainly corresponds with my experience:

GameofTrades_: CAUTION: Households have officially run out of excess savings

A reminder for Republicans about immigrants.

They can be won, as James Brooke suggests in the The Sun:

In the latest sign of a rightward swing of the pendulum in Latin America, voters in Ecuador opted overwhelmingly for tough anti-crime measures, including joint army and police patrols against cocaine gangs.

Ecuador is only one example.

This reminder does not mean the border does not need to be brought to order or that the Democrats’ illegal immigration flood should be absorbed in entirety.  It also does not mean Republicans should try to win immigrants’ support the same way Democrats do:  by pandering to them and trying to win their votes.

Rather, Republicans should put in the effort to craft a genuine and coherent set of policies with positions many immigrants will find attractive.  Furthermore, they should not dehumanize immigrants, as Democrats do when they instrumentalize and infantilize them.  Rather, even when policies involve options for deportation, the humanity of people seeking a better life should never be forgotten.

Too often we lose the debate to progressives when we accept their emotionalist intellectual shortcut.  The fact that somebody is deserving of compassion does not mean the appropriate actions of others is obvious.  The success of the West is premised on trying to bring people into the fold and to offer them a path toward mutually beneficial relationships.  Keep that always in mind.

You can tell how journalists see their role by the stories they cover.

This has become a focus of the Providence Journal’s city reporter:

amymrusso: Meanwhile over at Providence College, E. Corry Kole gave their first public remarks on their discrimination charge against the school, filed with the RI Commission for Human Rights.

What stories is Russo not covering because she’s spending so much time on this one?  Why is a personnel matter at a private organization newsworthy?

As for the content, it finally provides some explanation for a mythical cliché.  I’ve never understood the rule that you had to invite a vampire into your house.  The rule applies well to DEI “professionals.”  Once you let them in, they’ve got you.  That is the critical decision point.

I’ve lived under a wide variety of partisan combinations in government at the state and federal levels.

With that perspective, I’d suggest that America works better when voters put the adults in charge but then laugh at them through media and entertainment.  Once, adults could be of either party, but they became increasingly of the Republican variety.  Unfortunately, voters’ frustration with the inability to return to adult policies is loosening that rule, too.

That said, what we need above all is a division between government and social and cultural institutions.  That means electing problematic Republicans so the media can come closer to fulfilling a healthy role, rather than acting as propaganda organs for problematic Democrats.

Western tradition already has the answer to the attempts to undermine it.

That’s why, although I agree with Jordan, here, I think he’s a step away from the key point:

jordanbpeterson: Think about it this way: How can society continue successfully when success itself (which always characterizes a relative minority) is equated with theft and oppression?

We must reframe. A libertarian lean is correct, but valorizing success won’t work. The impulse to identify with the oppressed has to be changed to wanting to help people, to make THEM successful. It’s the principle at the intersection of Christianity and free markets.

Why are the key questions of politics so easy to ignore?

This exchange between CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has made the rounds and received its share of commentary:

kaitlancollins: Bill Barr responds to Donald Trump mocking him after he said he would vote for him in 2024. And it's something.

To my mind, the most telling part is when Collins looks for a comparison among conservatives to progressive bureaucratic government impositions and points to a local library debate. What Barr should have asked is: “Do you think you’ll have a better chance changing policies you don’t like in your hometown or in Washington, D.C.?”

The notion that different activities are appropriate at different levels of government is too often glossed over, and it’s central to our civic system.  Arguably among the biggest contributors to growing division is the sense that progress means political questions are answered at higher and higher levels.  In that view, it’s great if your local library board promotes your beliefs, but it’s even better if the federal government does, because it affects more people.  That isn’t the pluralistic ideal of self-governance on which our country was founded.

Democrats are moving deeper into the dark side of triangulation.

The concept of triangulation used to mean politicians looked at the political landscape and positioned themselves on the field to advance their policy goals.  The worsening development, facilitated by mass media and social media, is the attempt to manipulate the landscape.  That’s where we start to think of the Overton Window, shifting the range of positions people think are acceptable, and it’s what we see here:

JonahDispatch: I agree Barr’s argument is bad. But you know what? If Democrats really believe Trump poses an existential threat to democracy (I think he poses a major threat, but not an existential one), maybe they should stop doing the nanny-state crap that repels gettable voters.

I think Jonah misunderstands (or pretends to misunderstand) what’s going on, here.  Democrats (among whom I count the mainstream media) promoted Trump and are doing everything they can to paint him as a monster because the worse they make him out to be the worse they can be.  That’s why Barr is right that, in a binary decision, Trump is preferable, and not seeing it may be why Jonah has taken his wise reservations about Trump so far as to be an error.

McKee Antoinette serves cake

Politics This Week: Let Them Eat Leftovers

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the undercurrents of politics in RI and nationally.

A crowd mocks a mismatched boy while not noticing people getting away with things

Politics This Week: What People Don’t Care About

John DePetro and Justin Katz put a spotlight on the aspects of controversies that nobody seems to notice.

A zombie politician speechifies

Politics This Week: Governed by Corruption

John DePetro and Justin Katz marvel at the built-in corruption at the state and federal levels.

A coyote sets a trap with a fake tunnel and "Racist" sign

Politics This Week: How to Catch an RI Democrat

On WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM, John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss: Pawtucket employee gets the red R Providence students on a union string Amo’s vote for illegal alien voting CRMC and prosecutorial government Bad times, disapproving, but still voting Biden Diossa enjoys the perks of office Big money to promote racial division in state government…

Men debate in a trench during a battle

Thinking About National Unity on Memorial Day

The need for national unity on a landscape where it may be impossible leaves only few options and hard work on the table, but hope, nonetheless, if we take Memorial Day to heart.

A crowd mocks a mismatched boy while not noticing people getting away with things

Politics This Week: What People Don’t Care About

John DePetro and Justin Katz put a spotlight on the aspects of controversies that nobody seems to notice.

A zombie politician speechifies

Politics This Week: Governed by Corruption

John DePetro and Justin Katz marvel at the built-in corruption at the state and federal levels.

A coyote sets a trap with a fake tunnel and "Racist" sign

Politics This Week: How to Catch an RI Democrat

On WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM, John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss: Pawtucket employee gets the red R Providence students on a union string Amo’s vote for illegal alien voting CRMC…

Men debate in a trench during a battle

Thinking About National Unity on Memorial Day

The need for national unity on a landscape where it may be impossible leaves only few options and hard work on the table, but hope, nonetheless, if we take Memorial Day to heart.

A horse-riding general leads his troops off a cliff

Politics This Week: Breaking from the Top

John DePetro and Justin Katz look for the realities behind the headlines in Rhode Island.

Man jogging on a treadmill while on cell phone threatened by snake

When did life-optimizers become snowflakes?

A self-improvement celebrity’s partisan trigger warning provides a warning about the extent to which we’ve lost our civic heritage.

Comedy Central’s version of Toby Flenderson Cancels ‘Diversity Day’ from its The Office re-runs

According to Daily Wire (first discovered by Barstool), Comedy Central doesn’t find a particular episode of the sitcom The Office funny after all.

The episode is famous for its politically incorrect storyline which features boss Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) forcing the paper company staff to participate in a racial diversity seminar where he speaks in an exaggerated Indian accent and reprises Chris Rock’s notorious standup routine about different kinds of black people.

I’ve been listening to Billboard Top 100 playlists from the ’80s and ’90s.

Something really strange happened in 1990.  There are some stand-outs, but mostly, pop/rock music fell off a cliff for a year.

The scandal is more Mayor Lightfoot’s than the priests.

She must have known a non-Catholic in a lesbian marriage shouldn’t take the Eucharist.  Incredibly disrespectful… and at a police officer’s funeral. (Autumn Jones reports for Catholic News Agency.)

“‘It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet’ than face the crowds again, a staff member was quoted as saying in the cable.”

Reports from local staff members at the U.S. embassy in Kabul as Abigail Williams and Yuliya Talmazan report for NBC News. (Via Instapundit.)